If you live your life with a sense of urgency, you will face some frustration as you deal with the world at large. Urgency is not important to most people you will come in contact with. It's not a topic taught in schools, and you will rarely hear your friends discuss the need for urgency with the exception of things they seem highly motivated to do - like buying the latest fad or concert tickets for their favorite band. People tend to feel that tomorrow is a better day to do what they MUST do, especially if they don't particularly WANT to do it.
Fidelity implies strict and continuing faithfulness to an obligation, trust, or duty according to Webster's Dictionary. In other words fidelity implies that you are honest and faithful. Period. Not only when it's convenient or absolutely necessary to be honest and faithful with some people. But with everyone!
Does everyone want to buy the cheapest products available in the marketplace today? Are generic and store brands in; and name brands out? This week we will delve into the value of brand loyalty, and why I believe it still matters when it comes to making purchasing decisions.
Over the last four years I have sliced and diced the topic of time management and presented my observations in several articles, polls and lessons. I cannot stress enough how valuable and precious our time is and have found yet another way to make my point. During our adult working life which we'll say consists of ages 22 through 66 or so, we would be considered fortunate if we had four hours of FREE TIME per weekday to divide up among our ongoing responsibilities; study; recreation and entertainment.
There are many philosophies regarding how competition affects our individual lives and the world at large. However, the Reality of Competition is that every living organism on our planet has always, and will continue to compete for the scarce resources available at any given time. This is an unwritten law of nature that we cannot deny or ignore. For example I'm sure that you have watched movies or documentaries about the animal kingdom, where all species seem to have several natural predators wanting to devour them for lunch.
Having been around entrepreneurs most of my career, I have learned a great deal about the correlation between success in business; making lots of money; and one's continued education. My opinion was formed over a three decade period as I witnessed the best of breed business-people consistently filling the seats of business and technical seminars and workshops that I attended as well as hosted. This never came as a surprise to me. It just disappointed me terribly that those who needed the training and education the most, never showed up for the classes.
The financial news since 2005 has focused on the housing bubble and its ultimate effects on the average homeowner; consumer; and the economy in general. All those predictions about the housing bubble is now materializing in 2006, as the balloon stopped inflating and the air has been let out rather sharply. But the real story that has been overlooked in the mainstream media is the lending bubble that is about to explode.
After a frustrating week of phone calls with businesses both large and small, I thought it would be appropriate to share a novel idea to improve your customer service. If I had a drum roll at this point, it would make this idea much more dramatic and exciting to offer up. However, let's give it a try without the drum roll. My novel suggestion is "Answer your telephone quickly; in a friendly; courteous; caring way and stop hiding from your clients!"
I have been a proponent for using brainstorming techniques for many years. For those not familiar with brainstorming, my brief definition would be: a technique for generating a number of creative ideas with a group or team of people, in order to come up with solutions to a challenge. An appropriate metaphor on this topic might be: two heads are better than one when trying to solve a problem. Adjust that phrase to ten or twenty heads are better than one and you have a valid argument for using brainstorming as an effective technique for creating solutions.
Current events often inspire me to share my thoughts in Learning Life's Lessons. This past week my family and I suffered the loss of our twelve year old dog who was truly a faithful friend to all of us. As a child I never had a pet dog and as I matured through life it never really dawned on me that someday I would become so attached to a furry little friend, who could impact my life in so many ways.
While our medical system is surely more advanced than it was four or five decades ago, getting ill and hospitalized today can be downright dangerous. While it's never fair to make a generalized statement like this, it nevertheless must be discussed because we all have only one life to live.
Life is full of distractions, challenges and risks. We can become enlightened or distracted 24/7 from a multitude of sources that bombard us via newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, books, the internet or you name it. In today's complicated world, we face challenges that can originate in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, businesses, governments or by individuals in hundreds of different countries around the world. To survive in this complicated world, I believe it's necessary to practice some sound disciplines to reduce the number of stupid mistakes we make.
In this week's lesson, I would like to discuss the relevance of polls in our modern culture. While I have voluntarily taken part in several online polls conducted by websites; and conducted polls on my own website for 115 straight weeks, I somehow do not hold as much credence to their validity as the media types would like us to believe. I took a few statistics courses in college and certainly realize that there's magic in numbers gathering.
I would like to target this lesson toward my younger visitors. Because I feel its message can make a real difference in your life if you follow this simple piece of advice.....ALWAYS pay every bill and financial commitment you make PROMPTLY! While this may seem like a simple conventional wisdom to follow, not enough people understand the power of paying promptly!
In this lesson, we will be discussing how you can enter the fast tract to learning just about anything, by finding a mentor to communicate with regularly. The dictionary describes a mentor as a noun and a verb. As a noun the word mentor is described as a wise and trusted guide and adviser. As a verb, to mentor someone would be to serve as a teacher or trusted counselor.
If you are a business owner or manager and I were to tell you that the BEST INVESTMENT of five to ten minutes a day could be singing "Happy Birthday" to a client, you might think I should have someone check my temperature. However in this week's lesson, I am going to share one of the most powerful rapport building techniques you can ever try......for FREE!
Throughout my lifetime, I have watched upsets and surprises occur on many fields of play including sports, business, politics and all forms of competition. No one ever stays on top forever! Last night, I was reminded once again, rather dramatically of this phenomenon, as I watched the Wake Forest football team totally dominate Florida State on the field of play, winning the game 30-0. While this may sound like just another football score, it was anything but that! Let's take a closer look at this event and why everyone MUST respect their competitors.
We live in a world of an overabundance of data and statistics. On the Internet, one can usually find data and statistics on just about any topic your mind can conjure up. However, the internet is dry as a bone on how much regular people bet and lose in the hundreds of ways you can gamble your money away. Before writing this lesson, I wanted to present the horrifying data I know exists somewhere. However, my searches returned a meaningless dribble of data and statistics. I wonder why? I did happen to find a few quotes about gambling that were worth repeating:
Learning and understanding the simple principle of "Sowing and Reaping" as early as possible in life can turn out to be the absolute BEST LESSON LEARNED during your entire educational process. This principle is so basic and elementary, yet so powerful. Unfortunately it is easily overlooked and often takes a backseat on one's priority chart of principles to practice.
Two years ago, we discussed the word RESPECT in one of our polls on "Positive Moods And Emotions." From the results of that poll, we learned that the respect from our spouse or lover was MOST important to those that participated. It was followed by respect from one's Mom and then Dad. Thus it is not a surprise to me that the loss of respect from a lover or spouse, or a Mom or Dad can be the main contributor to family relationships that go sour.
It's that time of the year when all big retailers are salivating over holiday business. Every day, my local newspaper has SALE flyer's enclosed, and the Sunday edition weighs over ten pounds because it is so heavily stuffed. Lot's of money is spent by retailers on advertising and in this lesson we'll discuss tips on how to navigate your way through holiday shopping.
The sports and entertainment community can teach the business community a thing or two, about placing their best team on the field to WIN. All businesses large and small, know how fiercely competitive every day can be when they open their doors to serve their clients. However somehow that doesn't seem to stop them from fielding a mediocre team, to compete with their toughest competitors.
There's no better time than the festive and joyous holiday season to discuss "The Language of Love!" This language is not necessarily one that is spoken but rather a universal language of positive gestures and actions that every living organism desires.
Today marks the end of another year. It's time to get out your new calendar for 2007. The old calendar is obsolete and ready to be put into the trash. Looking back on last year, we probably all did some great things that are worth remembering. Fond memories are healthy for us. They put a smile on our face and we enjoy reliving moments that we are proud of. On the other hand we probably made some stupid mistakes last year and know plenty of others who have done the same.
In my last lesson I mentioned that I believed one of the most important books ever written was "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. Over the years, I have mentioned this book to many people that I've come in contact with and asked them if they have ever heard of the book or Napoleon Hill? To my dismay the answer was "no" 95% of the time. This book is about an individual who invested more than twenty years of his life, for no pay, working on a project for Andrew Carnegie, who at the time was one of the richest men in the world.
From the very beginning of our modern day Internet, I have watched many changes occur right before my eyes. I was intrigued from the first day I subscribed to AOL, in early 1996. During those early days, subscribers would be billed by the minute for AOL's snail-like connections at 14,400kps. If you had a growing family like I did back then, it was not unusual to pay nearly $200 a month for the opportunity of using AOL's so called "state of the art" services.
How well do you perform repetitive yet very meaningful activities? Now I'm talking even simple stuff like paying your bills promptly or filling your quarterly or annual income taxes. Do you just get by in the nick of time, but in a panic at the last moment? Or do you consider yourself well prepared and very confident that if you did it, it was done right and done promptly? How about when you take part in extremely important negotiations; speaking presentations; or activities like closing on a house or a business? Were you well prepared for these events?
Everyone in business performs some type of service for their clients. Some are good at it and some really stink. Some make or sell products that customers stand in line to buy; while others have warehouses or showrooms full of products that no one really wants to buy. This lesson was inspired by last week's announcement that Ford Motor Company posted a record 12.7 billion dollar loss in 2006. It's almost inconceivable that any company can lose that much money in one single year and still keep opening their doors for business.
During my business career, one of the most common complaints I heard from my clients was how overwhelmed they seemed to be every day. There just wasn't enough time in their day to live up to their demanding responsibilities at work. Then they went home after work and faced a whole new set of demanding responsibilities as a spouse or parent and continued their feeling of being overwhelmed some more. There's no question in my mind that individuals who are conscientious and considered successful by their peers and family can feel overwhelmed more often than not.
Today marks the 130th consecutive week of producing articles for the Learning Life's Lesson series, that began on August 22nd, 2004. During this period we have covered many topics originating from real life experiences. In Lesson Two we discussed the importance of developing and maintaining a Real Deal Relationship. In that lesson we described these relationships as two loving participants who had a history of being independent as well as inter-dependent individuals who matured together and are still standing as a union, after being battered by the storms of life.
Have you ever wondered how our culture became so dependent on attorneys? If you bought a house or a business, recently, you probably signed enough documents to make your signing arm numb. Everyone who is a party to the transaction had to protect themselves in every imaginable way from any misunderstanding that could arise from the transaction. Disclosure after disclosure had to be produced by attorneys, to make sure that everyone insulates and protects themselves from future lawsuits.
This week marks the Fifth Anniversary of eHappyLife.com, which was started in early 2001 and officially launched on March 1st 2002.
On the fifth anniversary of eHappyLife.com, which was celebrated on March 1st, 2007, I decided to do some research to see what kind of impact our little non-commercial website has had on individuals searching for a Happy Life. Without ever spending one dollar in advertising, our little site worked its way from total obscurity five years ago to the number one search on "almost" every search engine for the phrase HAPPY LIFE.
This lesson was inspired by a one hour TV special I happened to watch this past week on the Discovery Channel, in glorious High Definition. It was produced in conjunction with the Travel Channel and was titled "Great Honeymoons!" The host of the show traveled around the globe, to report on the most beautiful and expensive Honeymoon destinations - from Niagara Falls USA to Paris, Venice, Hawaii and others.
This lesson was inspired by "The Serenity Now" episode of Seinfeld that I watched on TV this past week. Since the invention of the wonderful DVR, it's simple to watch as much Seinfeld as you care to commercial free, by just recording every episode in syndication. While I must admit that watching Seinfeld happens to be one of my favorite TV pastimes, it no surprise that the Seinfeld Series has become a phenomenal hit for a multi-generational audience.
In my consulting practice, the first order of business I engage in with a new client is to mutually sign a list of twelve pledges to set up guidelines on how we will interact with each other. By both parties agreeing to these guidelines in writing, we can immediately establish the foundation of a fundamentally sound relationship, built on clarity of purpose and behavior. The first pledge is obviously the most important which states that we will each VALUE our TIME as our most PRECIOUS ASSET. This pledge is never any surprise to anyone who knows me.
This week's lesson, was inspired by the news that Circuit City announced it would layoff 8% of their workforce or 3400 of their most experienced and highest paid store workers, only to replace them with lower paid employees. For years I have been writing articles and lessons about LEADERSHIP and the many benefits of building and fielding your BEST TEAM possible.
Being a parent is perhaps the most important responsibility any human being can engage in. There's little or no training received by most prospective parents, on how to do the job right or how to do it at all. Throughout history and throughout the world today, children in their teens who can barely fend for themselves are forced into parenthood. Yet the beat goes on and too many babies are brought into this world, to individuals who will have a difficult time being responsible and nurturing parents.
Most of us have dreams and visions about creating something new or improving on something that already exists. It's wonderful to dream and envision doing something constructive that can benefit yourself and others. That's exactly how all forward progress occurs in our world. The difficult part of the process is taking those first few steps of the journey down a long and dark road that connects our dreams and visions with reality. That road can be lonely and scary, filled with lots of unknowns and potential disappointments.
I believe individuals can reduce stress, anxiety and even the possibility of depression in their lives by the simple practice of keeping their surroundings clean, neat and organized. While this sounds simple, and is surely a better alternative to medications, it's easier said then done. Habits and disciplines can be learned and this one is definitely worth pursuing. No one can honestly say that they "enjoy" living in a house or working in an environment that is sloppy, disorganized or even worse plain old dirty.
Our business and personal lives would come to a halt without engaging in timely communications. Now I agree wholeheartedly that we cannot communicate with every one that attempts to communicate with us. Personally, I receive in excess of 100 spam e-mails a day and have carefully created around 1000 filters to catch and delete (after a quick review) just about every conceivable piece of garbage that enters my in-box.
Wouldn't it be a novel idea if everyone started saving for retirement as soon as they got some money in their slippery little hands? Perhaps even starting by saving some recess money at school? Now I know that sounds ridiculous. However, just think if we could slowly change our mindset as kids from an all consuming individual, to a thrifty, saving type who desires to be financially prepared for their future. That change in mindset might make everyone feel more secure throughout life, knowing that we always had money in the bank earning compounded interest.
I thought it would be fitting on Mother's Day, to discuss what a lasting positive impact; a mother's actions can have on a son. In particular a grown son, who has so may fond memories of Rose Rossini.
Over the course of any given week, our modern day news is full of stories of human suffering and adversity. I often wonder if we are facing more adversity in 2007 than in years past, or are we just being bombarded in real time about every single incident that occurs around the world from a plethora of media including newspapers; radio; TV; and the many facets of the Internet? In this Lesson, I would like to discuss adversity from the past and present and how to prepare to bounce back.
There are many proverbs that get passed down from generation to generation. Proverbs have originated from all over the world and some popular proverbs are traced back to the Greeks in the 5th century BC. Most proverbs are stated in 10 words or less, however they prove to pack quite a punch when it comes to words of wisdom. Some of my favorites date back centuries; however they are just as relevant today as they were when they were first coined. Here's a sampling to ponder:
Honesty is the best policy
Knowledge is power
Where there's a will there's a way
Whether we like it or not, we are all developing a "Personal Name Brand" for the world to search for on the Internet. The days of personal privacy are quickly drifting past us, without us even realizing what's happening. And it will be up to every individual to insure that they build a solid "Name Brand" and protect it by living a clean, honest life. Prior to the last few years, one's public records were only viewed by those who wanted to take the time to travel to city, county or federal government offices and comb through books of records about your public transactions.
Politics and religion are two topics that I try to avoid writing about publicly. However I can't help but slip one lesson in regarding politics, inspired by the current presidential primary campaign.
This week's Lesson #148 in our Learning Life's Lesson's series represents the THIRD Father's Day celebration since the inception of this series on August 22nd 2004. During the last 148 weeks, lots of Lessons have been discussed regarding all facets of life. And once again I would like to delve into the importance of fatherhood and the challenges that caring fathers face today.
This coming Friday, we will witness the incredibly hyped launch of the Apple I-Phone. This product launch inspired this week's lesson about A Trifecta of Benefits MP3 players can provide: Exercise, Education and Entertainment. While the Apple I-Phone is brand new and promises to be the next cool gadget, it is extremely high priced at $499 for the functions it performs.
It's pretty difficult to avoid looking at yourself in the mirror for any extended period of time. They are all around our homes, workplaces and public areas. They are strategically placed in most bathrooms both public and private and sooner or later you have to take a peak at yourself. It's unfortunate that the reflection you see in a mirror might be quite painful at times. The pain does not resonate from a lack of beauty, but rather from looking in the mirror and not liking who you see in it because of your actions.